The hearing did not take place. On Sunday March 12, the Algerian journalist Ihsane El Kadi, supported by sixteen press bosses, including Jérôme Chapuis for La Croix, was not transferred on Sunday morning from his cell to the Sidi M’Hamed court. Claiming health precautions linked to Covid which are no longer current in the country, the court offered him a videoconference hearing, which the accused refused. “It is a trial of rupture that he intends to lead surrounded by journalists and his lawyers, not alone behind a screen”, underlines a source close to the family. Finally, the hearing will take place on March 26. In “face-to-face”.
For Ihsane El Kadi’s lawyers, this attempt at isolation adds to the attacks on the presumption of innocence. On February 24, on state television, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune accused the journalist, imprisoned since December 29, “of being in the pay of foreign powers”, and described as “illegal” the media that he directs, Radio M and Maghreb Emergent, both closed and placed under seal.
The journalist does not intend to respond to the judges. In a press release published on March 9, the international collective which defends him considers that “the conditions are far from being met for a fair trial which guarantees his rights as stipulated in Algerian legislation and international conventions ratified by Algeria”. .
Ihsane El Kadi is being prosecuted for “receiving funds and benefits from foreign sources for the purpose of engaging in political propaganda”, but everything points to detention because of his opinions. The journalist’s requests for release have all been rejected, despite strong guarantees. The processing of these requests is “tainted with irregularity”, assure its defenders, “of which the most notable was, on January 15, 2023, the meeting of the indictment chamber in its absence and in the absence of its lawyers” .